The Playgoer: The 'C' Word

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

The 'C' Word

If your definition of "censorship" is limited to padlocking the doors of the theatre by government decree, then I suppose there's no censorship in America.

But ponder that statement for a second: "There is no censorship in America." Does this really square with our experience? Or, more pointedly, with the experiences of writers and artists in this country who choose to confront sacred cows or upset political and religious orthodoxies?

Because we have a First Amendment (as of today, anyway) we thankfully are spared the full Soviet-style slash and burn techniques. Also, unlike Britain, we have not had to inherit an antiquated Royal appointment like the Lord Chamberlain, who still had the power in London to license (or not) all plays until the 1960s!

But, of course, artists at all times in all places have been free to create whatever they wanted. Getting your work shown is where censors get interested. And I would argue there are still in our society plenty of potential factors that have the power to function as de facto Lord Chamberlains, First Amendment or not. In other words--the experience on the artist's end is sometimes not much different.

Some might say we are blessed not to have a "state theatre" because such institutions are prey to overt government censorship. No doubt, if we had a true "National Theatre" in this country it would be painfully prone to the same controversies our meager NEA has to deal with whenever they give, say, an openly gay artist a thousand-dollar grant. Cries of "taxpayer money" would trump all. So that leaves the American artist is at the whim of private and corporate sector dollars. (Small grants do their part, but always make up less than half the pie of any theatre or arts institution's budget.)

The good news about that system is that if you're a billionaire with money to waste, you can write or produce a play about any subject you choose. If not, you are dependent (I do not use the word lightly) upon the willingness of people with money to take a chance. So, no, it's not just about the money in the end. It's about guts.

In other words, the steadfastness and commitment of arts institutions (and, if we expand the circle into commercial entertainment, publishing houses, movie studios, communications conglomerates....) are all that's keeping us from true censorship. When they fail in that department--when they abrogate their inevitable responsibilities as guardians and exemplars of free speech--don't we get at least a taste of what living under censorship is like?

I'm open to coming up with another word, if that's what it takes to get incidents like the attempted shutdowns of plays like Corpus Christi recognized for what they are: dangerous precedents of intimidation and fear that truly threaten the freedom of our theatres.

In that spirit, here are some common objections to the use of the 'c' word to describe New York Theatre Workshop's handling of Rachel Corrie, along with my attempts to rebut them:

Why does a theatre have to do a play they don't want to do?
They don't. The problem here is that NYTW has repeatedly (to this day) insisted they do want to produce it! So ask them what's stopping them. Please. We all really want to know.

Theatres reject plays for all kinds of reasons. Is that always censorship?
No, of course not. We can probably all think of cases of plays people would like to do, out of support for the political beliefs stated, but drop it when they decide the play just isn't any good. What's funny is that NYTW has done exactly the opposite. By Jim Nicola's own account, he fell in love with the script first only for the abstract themes of its story (idealism, etc) and the aesthetic quality of Rachel Corrie's writing. It's the politics (Corrie's actually positions, both true and alleged) that then got him concerned.

So how's this for a "rule": Censorship involves the withdrawing of a work for its political content alone.
NYTW's only sin was in letting this get out. They never publicly announced the play in the first place, so what's wrong with privately considering the play and then deciding against it? It's not fair to interfere in their decision making process.

True, if they kept a tighter lid on this we would never know. But considering there was another party in this affair, the Royal Court Theatre, as well as a movie star (Alan Rickman), what were the odds of that? Also, the play was a known quantity--in London, at least, a pretty important epicenter of the English-speaking theatre. Sooner or later people would wonder (as did even Alan Rickman fans obsessively on their websites) when it was coming to New York, as people do with all London hits.

Now if you think that all this is fine as long as it happens privately, then I suppose you also think it's fine for a President's staff to go around exposing and trashing the name of a CIA agent for political purposes--just as long as it doesn't get in the papers?

The exposure of this story is worth paying attention to since it provides a window on an important kind of decision making process. While NYTW may be a private institution, I think we in the theatre community think of such theatres as having a "public trust" and do owe their wider audience and artists some transparency and openness about how they operate. After all, they're the only "national theatre" we've got!

Also, don't forget, the story has mostly been self-exposed. Jim Nicola may still be withholding key details, but he has given plenty of interviews and openly admitted backing down from this play due to displeasure from others over its political content. Again, that's his story.

This isn't censorship. Just a bad PR problem. They were concerned about the play for legitimate reasons but bungled how they announced it and fell into merely a rhetorical trap.
I will admit this: if Jim Nicola told the New York Times on February 28 that while he had been making preparations to produce the play in a month's time, after more research and learning about the play's issues he no longer believes as strongly in it...I would actually somewhat respect that. Especially if he really made clear that he personally changed his mind and could not commit to the play any longer, or that he had either misread it originally or just educated himself in the process. We could all then yell at him for changing his mind. Or we could debate with him the finer points of the " '67 Borders" and whether the International Solidarity Movement is a front for Hamas. But at least that would be an open and honest debate.

Note that neither Jim Nicola nor anyone representing NYTW has ever made such a statement. Instead they have continued to say they believe in the play and that it is only others who object. Implicitly, then, it's anxiety over these others that's stopping them from producing it. And the objections are expressly over political content. Smell like censorship yet?

What difference does it make whether a theatre changes its mind about a play or never chose it to begin with? Would you have shut up, Playgoer, if Jim Nicola just never sat down with Alan Rickman in the first place and led him on? Is that all this is about?
Simple point: what distinguishes all classic censorship cases is that the work is clearly intended and headed for production/publication and then stopped. No, I don't think it's censorship when a writer sends off a manuscript accusing the government of war crimes and it is simply not accepted for publication, for whatever reason. The publisher in that case even has the right to say "we don't publish controversial material."

But I do think it's a quite different scenario--with much more disturbing implications--when the publisher's first response is "Yes! We want to publish this" and then some other force intervenes and pulls the plug. And not because they don't like the writing style, or don't like the author personally, but expressly over political content.

Doesn't it make a difference that this has been voluntary. Again, doesn't NYTW have the right to have this debate privately and internally amongst themselves. If the objection is coming from within the institution, then where's the sinister outside censorship?

Indeed, who is functioning as the "Lord Chamberlain" here? That's actually one of the last remaining mysteries surrounding the case. A powerful board member? A "generous" donor? Jim Nicola's Jewish childhood friend from summer camp? There simply is not enough information to make this claim. Of course, NYTW could help--maybe even help themselves!--by filling us in on this.

I suppose you could let Nicola off the hook by saying the buck stops with him, that no matter who he may have consulted, he has the right to decide, "voluntarily"not to do the play. In that case, I ask you to comb the transcripts of all his interviews and show me, where does he take such authoritative responsibility? Or do his words sound more like those of a man in a corner?

And lastly..."Postponement" does not equal "cancellation."
Oh please. We're four weeks into this already.

That's all I have in me for now. I welcome more challenges in Comments. And perhaps readers can offer more rebuttals there as well.

27 comments:

Dr. Cashmere said...

Has NYTW sent a letter to subscribers about this controversy yet? To 'Usual Suspects'?

Almost five weeks in, are there still no plans for a gathering or forum at which NYTW's stakeholders will have a chance to talk through the controversy?

If not, it's astounding. It's not just disrespectful, it's stunningly tone deaf too.

What on earth is going on over there?

Aaron Riccio said...

For what it's worth, does it really matter what's happening over there? I've recently stumbled into the blogging world of theatrics (literally and figuratively), and I had no idea of Rachel Corrie until it was mentioned here. Did I care that this show wasn't being done before I knew about it? No. Do I care that the show isn't been done now that I know about it? No. In fact, all people really seem to care about is that NYTW seems to have backed down. So what? The nice thing about theater is that there is no one outlet. If NYTW doesn't want to do it, if they let go of it, another theater can pick it up. Even if Jim Nicola turns out to have been brainwashed, the delight is that they can't get all of us (and if they do, we'll never know, will we?).

Now, I know this might just sound avoidant, or ignorant, of the larger issue, but it's just not censorship. In fact, if we theatergoers were able to force NYTW (or shame it) into putting on this production, wouldn't that be just as bad as one person forcing them not to? A theater needs to operate independently, and all the public needs to do is to hold them accountable by either supporting future productions or not.

What really gets me is that the majority of people who have taken stances on this issue have not even read the play (myself included), and we're acting on larger-than-life assumptions about the "state of theater." I'm personally far more concerned with the Hollyway and Broadwood amalgamation that threatens the stage, something that shows that the majority of theatergoers really don't care so much about what's on stage so much as who's in it. Don't we find THAT a little frightening?

freespeechlover said...

It's all frightening, but, with all due respect, why does your lack of concern about speech in this instance get to cancel out someone else's concern? Why does your perspective get to trump someone else's? Everyone's point of view is important to her or himself. Everyone is the center of their own universe, and everyone's point of view is potentially insignificant to someone else. What ever happened to tolerance, meaning you don't have to be me? What is stopping someone else from starting their own theater blog and doing the work that playgoer has done around the issues they care about? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/news/display?contentId=88741

oh, and 67 borders, i think you mean..

Aaron Riccio said...

Freespeechlover . . . but that's exactly my point. I have no interest in "cancelling out someone else's concern." I'm just making conversation by expressing my own opinion. I thought my post was a very tolerant commentary on the other side of the Corrie affair--one that agreed with NYTW's right to do as they please without coming under fire for something that people admittedly still only know second- (and in some cases third-) hand. I have great respect for what Playgoer's done here, that's why I read the blog and felt a desire to contribute to the dialogue. But this is what I'm saying. If merely expressing a view or taking a side that you don't agree with (and I'm expanding this view beyond this side-topic to all the angry Corrie vs. NYTW people) is enough to get a condemnation or attack, then you've either missed the point completely yourself, or become as much of an oppressor as those you rail against, no?

So allow me to clarify. I believe, above all else, that every theater should have the right to run their house however they want, even if that includes bowing to political pressure, for that, in itself, is still a choice. I think it's perhaps shameful that a respected house is flip-flopping on a somewhat established position, but there isn't anything wrong with changing your mind. And understand, all that I've just said: that's just my opinion. Everyone else is still entitled to attack, criticize, lambast, &c. Great world that we can do that in, no?

Here's perhaps something that will elaborate my position: once upon a time, I was involved in a high-school production of "Line." Our faculty advisor approved the script but failed to attend rehearsals. On the day before performances, it came to his attention that "masturbation" was a topic in the script. At which point he read it. After which he cancelled the show. Now, as frustrating as that was to the actors involved, I came to see that the advisor, serving here as "theater owner" had the right to choose what he did and didn't want produced on his stage, even if that involved flip-flopping his ill-concieved initial impression. We involved in the show had other options; we could've performed for free in a nearby park, we could've found another space, &c. Now, NYTW's production of Corrie hasn't come along nearly that far, and it's not like the people interesting in the show can't still pursue other venues, so my point remains: what's the big controversy? The play has not been supressed; it's been passed on. Time to find a new outlet, no?

freespeechlover said...

I don't agree but see where you're coming from on this. I have a story too. Last year my university had secured an exhibit by Palestinian American artist, Emily Jacir. For months ahead of time, behind closed doors, with university personnel at our art museum, gagged from talking to anyone about it, the endowment officer, museum director, curator and others were involved in "dialogue," aka being screamed at my a local group of "concerned citizens."

I teach a course on women and the Middle East. I tried to do some planning to avail the artist and the exhibit to my students as part of the course curriculum. It was impossible to plan anything, because no one would provide dates, etc.

At the last minute, our endowment officer decided to allow the "concerned citizens" to alter the installation, when this had never been done previously. The artist had to launch an internet campaign to not be discriminated against, probably not in the legal sense but in the political sense--i.e. treating likes alike, etc.

Suddenly, my university's name was all over the internet with "arts intolerance" next to it, and the museum's reputation was about to be damaged. No small thing, except to the museum director, curators and everyone working there.

The artist was victorious in getting the endowment officer to reverse her decision, and there was all of one person protesting, handing out a leaflet stating "Never Again" on it outside the museum, the day of the opening.

Do you think that we will ever have a Palestinian art exhibit on my campus, despite the quality of the work (the victorious artist had part of her exhibit in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and I'm in Kansas, where visual art is like Van Gogh's Flowers).

Even if it's only a hell of a lot of wasted time and work, that's enough to recall that the democratic concept of a "citizen" assumes a robust persona. In a conversation with the Museum Director, I told him that it seemed okay to me if people wanted to protest the exhibit and the university shouldn't freak out about it. The Museum Director was too busy trying to protect the president of the university whose job it is is to handle conflict and who gets paid his salary to do so.

My students suffered, and we're a public university.

I felt like the adults could have acted like adults, stiffened their spine a bit and saved everyone, including the "concerned citizens" who were then brushed with discussions on speech, censorship, etc. in the community,
a lot of embarrassment.

But you're right--your opinion is fine, and you even can have the last word. Cheers.

Why Palestinians Usually Get It Wrong said...

You wrote:

"Why does a theatre have to do a play they don't want to do?
They don't. The problem here is that NYTW has repeatedly (to this day) insisted they do want to produce it! So ask them what's stopping them. Please. We all really want to know."

What is stopping them is that K. Viner and other play backers refuse to allow a community conversation. For example, the theatre suggested that after the play a conversation ensue in which folks from both sides could speak. This way, at least it would be noted that mayn people feel that Corrie was a terrorist because she was protecting tunnels used to smuggle weapons to kill Jews. The only censorship is that of Viner and her associates who are scared of the audience getting a full view of Rachel Corrie and her murky terrorist past.

Ian W. Hill said...

"If your definition of "censorship" is limited to padlocking the doors of the theatre by government decree, then I suppose there's no censorship in America."

Well, I guess that's pretty close for me.

No doubt Nicola's actions were wrong given the path he'd started on with CORRIE and his apparent reasons for taking those actions. His actions should cause unrest and comment and protest, certainly, and be a fearful example of cowardice in an artistic institution.

But.

There's still a big difference between the CORRIE (or CORPUS CHRISTI) case(s) -- or freespeechlover's horror story recounted above -- and Governmental censorship as happens in other countries. And not "Soviet slash-and-burn techniques" either.

We tend to forget (or not know, I suppose) this, but there are LISTS of banned artworks in MOST other countries. As in banned by governmental law. As in showing or distibuting these works of art will get you jail time and/or a hefty fine. This includes but is certainly not limited to Canada, England, Austria, Germany, Norway and Sweden (these are just the countries I'm familiar with due to certain specific cases). Today. Not some past Lord Chamberlin's office.

There's a difference between Jim Nicola's wrongheadedness in cancelling CORRIE and England jailing someone (completely legally in their law) for organizing a secret screening of the Banned-in-the-UK film A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, as has happened.

I wish there was a simple, accurate term for what Nicola has done in this case (well, I have one I use, but it's vulgar and not much good in public discourse), but I can't get behind "censorship" for it when I've looked somewhat at what real censorship is.

IWH
Gravesend

Pinna47 said...

First, let's not forget that James Nicola had committed enough of his resources to the idea of producing My Name is Rachel Corrie to post the tickets for sale on the internet. He was not having some kind of in-house internal debate and then decided against it. He had a full blown "Holy Crap! This play talks about masturbation. I could get fired by the principle for this" cowardly cave in.
For those of you who don't like the censorship word, I have another one for you, opression. I have read the text of this play. It reminds us all of the suffering of a people that our institutions of power would really rather we not know much about.
Oh, I have another word for you. The play was suppressed. Rachel Corrie was a hero who could not be made to serve the interests of the United States. Her choices might be upsetting to some people. We must not consider the emotional resonance that always accompanies the violation of human rights.
There is always the choice word, cowardice. Nicola's cowardice turned the everyday experience of seeing a political piece of theatre in London into a "I thought this was the land of the free" moment for a hell of a lot of people. Benjamin Franklin charged all citizens of this nation to regularly participate in public discourse as an obligation. One of the easiest ways to do this is through art.
Walter Davis was right. This play is not radical. Government is not the only source of censorship. Money and the withdrawal of it does a very nice job of shutting doors too. NYTW has a statement of purpose that is completely at odds with their action regarding Rachel Corrie.
The CANCELLATION of My Name is Rachel Corrie was a cowardly act to suppress information about the suffering of an opressed people. This play was censored. I am about to be impolite. WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

I agree with IWH on the hardline definition. But you'd be surprised how many books get banned from high schools (and lower grades) around the US all the time, among other horror stories, like freespeechlover's. Check out the National Coalition Against Censorship (which takes a looser view of using the C-word):
http://www.ncac.org/

Anonymous said...

I'm still confused. Somebody please explain to me how the abortion of Rachel Corrie from NYTW's scheduling is censorship. The play can still be performed at any of a thousand other theaters across America (perhaps more) that would be more than willing to do it, and not just for the publicity. Censorship is a strong word to throw around - it's also the WRONG word (and I find it silly that the actress clings to it so).

Why Palestinians Usually Get It Wrong said...

Bottom line: Corrie was a terrorist, burned American flags for the camera, supported suiicde bombers, and was just the type of person to fly an airplane into a building. Corrie chose death by bulldozer, and she got it.

Don R. Hall said...

IMO, this is without question censorship. It is not, however, about politics. It's about money.

Simply put, there is no other consequence I can imagine that would cause a theater of NYTW's reputation to so unceremoniosly pull this play except that of financial pressure - you know, unless someone threatened family members or something.

I believe pulling the play was an act of preservation against extreme pressure and thus, those who spend time attacking NYTW and Nicola as cowardly are as short-sighted as those who believe it is their right to determine the play isn't worth being produced.

Anonymous said...

What's preserved? Dirty Blonde and Rent? What's the point of a theatre dedicated to "political" and "historical" issues if it bows in the face of pressure to avoid certain political and historical issues?

Why is it "cowardly" to "attack" -- i.e., criticize -- this decision? It seems quite brave. Not many have publicly come out and criticized it.

If you are implying that somehow this theatre can be brought down by criticism, then it wasn't strong enough to begin with.

Don R. Hall said...

If you are implying that somehow this theatre can be brought down by criticism, then it wasn't strong enough to begin with.

Read my comment, friend - I don't believe for a second Nicola decided to pull "MNiRC" because of criticism. I believe he pulled it because of yet unsaid financial pressures on NYTW's potential funding. I also don't think it is cowardly to attack him - I think it is short sighted.

If it were your responsibility and both your livelihood and the jobs of everyone the theater employs were on the line, you might pull what has been described as an adequate but hardly seminal piece. Live to fight another day and all.

Is it censorship? Absolutely. But you seem to think this is the only act of censorship around in a field where commercially driven censorship runs rampant but is unreported.

Contrary to view that this world is made up of good guys and bad guys and that there is some sort of 'Star Wars' version of good and evil (you know - the one the current administration wants us all to live in), I see a bit more grey area involved and am vastly more offended by those putting the pressure on NYTW and Nicola than by his decision to cave.

NYTW was bullied by political activists no different than book burners offended by "Catcher in the Rye" or the errand boys of Uncle Joe McCarthy. They caved in from the pressure - a pressure I sincerely doubt you or I or most that blog about it have ever felt in our professional lives.

pinna47 said...

Dear Don,
We agree about a lot of things. Yes, what happened to this play is censorship. Yes, the censorship was driven by money. Yes, there is a lot of pressure in every venue of life to preserve your paycheck by just going along to get along. I don't think in terms of black and white. I'm just about the greyest person you might ever meet on a lot of subjects. Even my hair is grey.
Here is where we disagree. I still think this decision was cowardly. Generally, I abhor the personally anecdotal replacing the historical or analytical perspective. I have to indulge myself here.
I know what it is like to feel real pressure. I am a health professional that worked for a not for profit agency. The leadership changed and the place went into the crapper. I was asked to do things that went against my ethics and those of my profession. After 25 years in the same place at the age of 50, I resigned that position because I could not stay and be happy with that choice. I'll grant you that I made that choice only for myself.
For Mr. Nicola, Rachel Corrie was put up or shut up time. One can say one leads a daring, progressive, willing to take risks theater and have it be lip service. The test came when he was asked to BE the things he has claimed for himself. He failed.

There comes a time when all of us are pushed to put weight behind our words. I hope I am not being a hopeless reactionary about this issue. To me, this problem that NYTW has experienced might be the opening salvo of much more blatant and open attempts to influence what we can see and think about. Who better to resist this pressure that we both acknowledge? If NYTW can't do it, who can?

Don R. Hall said...

I agree that Nicola failed. Failure to walk the talk isn't necessarily cowardice, though. It is failure - and anyone who has been around the block (as you yourself have obviously been) has failed a number of times without blinking.

Did NYTW blow it? Yeah. Was the play censored? Yeah. Should we hold an institution like NYTW to a higher standard? Probably.

Ultimately, all the acknowledged heroes of any movement are sacrificed for the greater good. I think we need to be open to the idea that perhaps this particular play at this particular time wasn't worth the sacrifice Nicola was asked to make. Did NYTW sell out? Perhaps, but who among us knows the price Nicola was asked to pay to fight back?

For me, the real problem lies with the simple fact that art is censored every day for less politically charged reasons and it seems no one bats an eye. If we need to go on the attack as disgruntled artists, it is against the groups who applied the pressure on NYTW to pull "Rachel Corrie" that deserves the brunt.

The Playgoer said...

Don,

Thank you for your dissenting views.

I do want to state on the record though that I for one hardly think this is the "only" case of theatre censorship around. Just the most immediate to my neck of the woods and one I think I can do some good with by covering.

And I hardly think that because it happens a lot means we should be LESS concerned. (I don't think that's your view either, is it?)

So would you share with us some of the other censorship cases you believe are equally if not more important? It only helps fight against them if we show how such incidents are only mounting, not decreasing.

The Playgoer said...

Aaron,

I welcome your diseenting views, and thus you're totally justified in using the blog forum to air them. Such does not impugn anyone's else's free speech.

In response to your High School play analogy, I must say I feel it's not analogous for two basic reasons.

1) I consider "naughty words" and such a different kind of censorship. The masturbation lines in Horovitz's "Line" don't fall under the "political content" category of what I'm talking about. Of course on some level, censorship of sexual matters IS political. (And by the way--IS one of the few forms of state-sponsored censorship in the US, via the FCC, replete with the kinds of "heavy fines" invoked by Ian.)
BTW--why didn't your teacher just cut the line! No need to cancel the show... (Though it may not honor the Dramatists Guild!)

2) Your example is typical of high school theatre. PTA's and school boards are notorious for this kind of stuff. But I can't say I'm that outraged since it is "for children" and they think they're exercising some guardian role.... New York Theatre Workshop was supposed to be for adults! So what's their excuse?

Don R. Hall said...

Garrett,

My beef with the extensive coverage of "MNiRC" isn't that I think it is unimportant.

My beef is that I think we disagree on "why" it is important.

The popular spin is that this play has been censored because of politics - that Nicola buckled under the politics of the situation and it is the politics of the play that we should rally behind and debate.

I believe that, ultimately, all censorship of this nature is about money.

I also believe that if the big guns of New York Theater (NYT, Kushner, Pinter, etc.) are going to stir the pot, then a lobby to make it harder to put financial pressure on arts organizations is what will help solve the issue in front of us rather than a group bash on NYTW and the unfortunate choice made.

If NYTW had no (or at least less) fear of financial reprisal, I believe "MNiRC" would be up and running as I type. As it stands, any arts organization that decides to present 'controversial' material must face the groups they may offend. If those groups have more political weight and deeper pockets, the system allows for those groups to effectively destroy the artists out of sheer force of will.

The analogy that fits best in my mind is that of a financially strapped plaintiff vs. a super-wealthy defendant. The plaintiff, in order to avoid losing his house, his job, his car, his wife and kids, has to bend to the will of the defendant whether he is right or wrong or face annihilation. Standing up to 'the man' is great if you want to be William Wallace but remember that there hundreds of artists blacklisted by HUAC for standing up for what was right and Elia Kassan got a stable career and an Oscar for caving in.

As for other censorship situations, the easy (read:lazy) answer is that most of the time, no one hears about them because it happens to groups too small to matter in the grand scheme of things. I will endeavor to not be lazy, however, and will post a list next week on my blog that answers your question in depth, 'cuz it's nice to have an assignment once in a while.

Scott Walters said...

Freespeechlover wrote, "What ever happened to tolerance, meaning you don't have to be me? What is stopping someone else from starting their own theater blog and doing the work that playgoer has done around the issues they care about? I don't get it."

An interesting idea, tolerance. Do you not extend it to James Nicola, or does he have to be you? What is stopping someone else from opening a theatre and producing MNIRC? I don't get it.

The Playgoer said...

"An interesting idea, tolerance. Do you not extend it to James Nicola, or does he have to be you? What is stopping someone else from opening a theatre and producing MNIRC?"

Uh.... a lot?

The Playgoer said...

Don,

Thanks. Please email me when you do make such a post and I will gladly link to it. Consider yourself "on assignment"!

Financial pressures? Sure! But how safely can we assume at this point that's all it is. Without further disclosure about what went on behind closed doors, it's almost equally plausible to me Nicola did this out of a misguided sense of oversitivity to Jewish "feelings." If he has Jewish donors and/or board members, or a large jewish subscriber base, then financial concerns could be part of that, sure.

I'm not being naive in stating this, trust me. The politics of Israel/Palestine are just that explosive. After all, I doubt Manhattan Theatre Club feared donor pullout over Corpus Christi, for instance. MAYBE federal grant money.

I totally agree, though, that the Funding Problem must be part of this discussion and I believe I addressed that up front in my long Censorship post.

freespeechlover said...

Scott, I'm frankly flattered by your attention to my words, but I suggest that we give it a rest and let playgoer have a life.

Why Palestinians Usually Get It Wrong said...

Come and check out my collection of Rachel Corrie jokes. http://whypalestiniansgetitwrong.blogspot.com/2006/04/rachel-corrie-jokes-come-and-get-em-i_01.html

Scott Walters said...

Scott Walters: "An interesting idea, tolerance. Do you not extend it to James Nicola, or does he have to be you? What is stopping someone else from opening a theatre and producing MNIRC?"

Playgoer: Uh.... a lot?

Scott Walters: Uh.... no? Uh.... care to elaborate?

Scott Walters said...

freespeechlover said...
Scott, I'm frankly flattered by your attention to my words, but I suggest that we give it a rest and let playgoer have a life.

I believe this is called "bailing out," which is usually done when one lacks a response...